Hear about the benefits of fasting but confused by all the different labels?
Fasting describes a period that you abstain from some or all foods. Many popular diets recommend periods of regular fasting that include nothing but water and herbal tea (some also include organic juices) however you can also perform a “water fast” that includes only water, or a “partial fast” that limits one or more food groups. A “complete fast” includes no food or water and is not recommended due to dehydration. While it may seem like fasting is the latest fad, it’s been around since ancient times – and it’s still widely practiced around the world for religious and cultural reasons.
The benefits and drawbacks of fasting vary depending on the type of fast you are doing. Here are some known benefits and drawbacks of water fasting and regular fasting.
Benefits of fasting:
- Studies show promising results that fasting activates cellular mechanisms – boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, and lowering cardiovascular risk.
- People report feeling restored, rejuvenated, and having improved mental clarity during and after the fast.
- Evidence suggests that fasting can reduce cholesterol levels and improves lipid profiles.
- Fasting can work for people who dislike counting calories at every meal and planning daily intake, giving them a psychological affinity to eat healthier and sustain weight loss.
* Many people report that after completing a fast it’s easier to practice mindful eating, and less food is needed to satisfy their appetite.
Possible pitfalls of fasting:
- Fasting doesn’t make everyone feel better – it can be dangerous (especially water fasting) if you have a condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease (so check with your healthcare provider before you try it) It is also discouraged for pregnant or nursing mothers, who need higher caloric intake for to maintain good health
- Choosing to fast in a society where everyone seems focused on food can be challenging. Make it easier by avoiding scheduling your fast during family celebrations or holidays. Fast with friends and help keep each other on track. Have a selection of delicious herbal teas, fruit infused water, and nutrient dense organic juices ready.
- Some people find it hard not to over-indulge after fasting. Adding nutrient-rich juices, herbal tea and homemade bone broth to your fast can help.
- Extended fasting may result in thinning hair, imbalanced electrolytes, and – in extreme cases – cardiac arrhythmia or renal failure. (Remember: fasting is best utilized in moderation)
Here’s a rundown of the most popular fasting methods currently in vogue for health and wellness:
The 5:2 Diet – Eat normally for five days and then restrict your calories on two days (500 for women and 600 for men).
The 16/8 Method – Restrict your food intake to two or three meals in an 8-10 hour window and fast the other 14-16 hours. (For example, skip breakfast and don’t eat snacks after dinner).
Intermittent 24-Hour Fasting – Every 7 to 10 days, you complete a 24 hour fast. For example, fasting from breakfast to breakfast or from lunch to lunch.
The Warrior Diet – Fitness guru Ori Hefmekler, instructs you to eat raw veggies and fruit in small amounts during the day (fruit and vegetable fasting) and enjoy a feast of whole, unprocessed foods at night.
The Keto Diet – This diet requires you eat a low-carb, high-fat diet, and moderate protein. The diet does not strictly require fasting however some variations encourage intermittent fasting by skipping breakfast or dinner.
Healthy eating can take many forms, and finding the right strategies for your body and lifestyle is key. Many people have found that participating in moderate fasting periods helps them evaluate their relationship with food, place more focus on eating for nutrition vs. comfort, become a more mindful eater and keep calorie consumption in check.
Colon hydrotherapy completed before and at the completion of a fast can help improve the positive results of fasting by accelerating the removal of toxins and plaque from the body. You can learn more about our colon hydrotherapy and the detoxifying benefits here.
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